Abstract

Heart failure (HF) is associated with impaired L-arginine transport. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that augmented L-arginine transport prevents the loss of kidney function in HF. Renal function was assessed in wildtype mice (WT), transgenic mice with HF (dilated cardiomyopathy, DCM) and double transgenic mice (double transgenic mice with DCM and CAT-1 overexpression, HFCAT-1) with HF and endothelial-specific overexpression of the predominant L-arginine transporter, cationic amino acid transporter-1 (CAT-1) (n=4-8/group). Cardiac function was assessed via echocardiography and left ventricular catheterisation. Renal function was assessed via quantification of albuminuria and creatinine clearance. Plasma nitrate and nitrite levels together with renal fibrosis and inflammatory markers were also quantified at study end. Albumin/creatinine ratio was two-fold greater in DCM mice than in WT mice (P=0.002), and tubulointerstitial and glomerular fibrosis were approximately eight- and three-fold greater, respectively, in DCM mice than in WT mice (P≤0.02). Critically, urinary albumin/creatinine ratio and tubulointerstitial and glomerular fibrosis were less in HFCAT-1 mice than in DCM mice (P<0.05). Renal CAT-1 expression and plasma nitrate and nitrite levels were less in DCM mice compared with WT (P≤0.03) but was greater in HFCAT-1 mice than in DCM mice (P≤0.009). Renal expression of IL-10 was less in DCM mice compared with WT (P<0.001) but was greater in HFCAT-1 mice compared with DCM mice (P=0.02). Our data provide direct evidence that augmented L-arginine transport prevents renal fibrosis, inflammation and loss of kidney function in HF.

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